Field Trip Safety: Guidelines, Checklist, and Plan for K-12 School
As you may know, field trips are a staple of most school curriculums. They are also one of the best ways to learn about something new; in fact, they can be more educational than classroom time alone.
But because these activities require travel and can present various hazards—such as weather-related emergencies field trip safety is paramount for all educators.
For those who take field trips with their students each year, checklists and plans are a must.
Here is what you need to know about your next field trips.
Table of Contents
How to Protect Your Kids and Staff on a School Field Trip?
If your class is heading out to a museum or local amusement park it is vital to protect the health and safety of your field trip leaders and kids. Many private schools opt to take a bus while others may not have the funding to support a bus.
Following are a few tips on protecting your kids and staff.
- Go over the safety rules and all policies and procedures with your staff and kids before leaving for the field trip.
- Make sure students are properly dressed and have clear instructions on what to do in case of an emergency.
- Always have a roster of students and a chaperone with you when you go on a field trip.
- Instruct leaders to conduct a head count throughout the trip of all students.
- Make sure the restroom is safe before letting students enter.
- Have an acceptable ratio of students to staff based on the age of the class.
- Check students against the roster several times throughout the day.
- If any student is missing, notify facility staff or the police immediately.”
- Ask people in the nearby area to stay there until staff or police arrive so they may provide any information they may have about the missing student.”
- Make arrangements to have identifiable T-Shirts for all kids and staff to wear as a group.
School Leadership Needs to Be Responsible for Establishing Field Trip Safety Guidelines
School leaders need to be responsible for establishing field trip safety guidelines. This includes the private school principal, vice, principal, and all board members. We also recommend including your school’s PTA to be part of the conversation.
School leaders should consult with experts in the field, such as safety professionals, to ensure that the guidelines are comprehensive and cover all potential risks. Once the guidelines are established, they should be communicated to all staff and students, and everyone should be familiar with them before any field trips are taken.
Careful planning with a hands-on approach from top leadership helps create an atmosphere of safety first.
Use a Field Trip Safety Checklist
A field trip safety checklist is a list of items that should be checked before, during, and after going on a field trip.
Every field trip will present a challenge or two. This is why it is critical for staff members on the trip to be well-informed and have an active role. Your checklist needs to include some of the following information.
- A list of potential hazards and how to mitigate them
- Safety procedures that should be followed by leaders and participants
- A timeline and plan for the field trip
- Behavioral expectations of the event host
- Are restrooms provided or available
- What are students and teachers required to bring for the field trip
- Medication requirements for students dealing with asthma, allergies, or a cold
The checklist should include items such as safety gear, a first aid kit, and a map.
You never know when a child may become injured or lost. Your checklist should include:
- A mobile phone and/or two-way radio to communicate between staff and parents
- Printed maps to and from the field trip location
- A pen and a small notepad
- First aid Kits
Carry care plans with you that describe any special needs of your participants. The kit should include information about the participant’s care plan and any medications or equipment that may be needed.
The checklist should also include emergency contact information.
When an emergency happens your staff needs to be able to be reached and they need to know who to reach.
- All Parents should have a way to reach the teacher in case of emergency
- Each teacher or parent volunteer who is responsible to supervise kids needs the emergency contact information of each student and the teacher
- Drivers need a copy of the release forms for each student they are responsible for in case emergency treatment is required.
- An accident report to document what happened
Each Vehicle Needs a First Aid Kit for the Field Trip
Each vehicle needs a first aid kit for the field trip. This will ensure that everyone is safe and has the supplies they need in case of an emergency. The first aid kit should include bandages, antiseptic, and basic pain relievers.
School Waiver Forms
Protect your School with a Waiver signed by the Parent
When sending students on a field trip, it is essential that all safety procedures are in place beforehand. This includes having the appropriate safety equipment and making sure all participants are briefed on the purpose of the trip, what to expect, and how to behave.
One key element of ensuring a safe field trip is having a waiver form signed by the parent or guardian of each student. This document provides key points of information that may be helpful to a guardian in understanding what a waiver form is and why it is important.
A waiver form is a legal document that releases the school from liability in case of an accident or injury during the field trip. The form should outline the risks involved in participating in the trip and list any safety precautions that will be taken. By signing the form, the parent or guardian agrees to assume these risks and agrees that the school will not be held responsible if something goes wrong.
Does the School Event Host Require a Separate Waiver to be Signed?
If you are unsure of whether or not a school event requires a separate waiver to be signed, it is best to check with the event coordinator or the person in charge of organizing the event.
They will be able to tell you if a waiver is necessary and provide you with the appropriate paperwork.
It is also important to note that even if a school event does not require a waiver to be signed, it is still important to make sure that all participants are briefed on the safety and etiquette of the event. This includes information on special equipment and permits that may be required.
Do Waiver Forms Protect a Business?
When a business takes students on a field trip, there are many potential risks involved. In order to protect the business from liability in case of an accident or injury, it is important to have all participants sign a waiver form. This form releases the business from any responsibility in case of an accident or injury.
In addition to protecting the business, waiver forms can also help to protect the students themselves. By signing a waiver form, students are agreeing to participate in the trip at their own risk and are aware of potential hazards. This can help to prevent accidents or injuries from occurring in the first place.
Overall, waiver forms are an important tool for businesses and organizations that take students on field trips. They help to protect both the business and the students by releasing responsibility and awareness of potential hazards.
Assign Someone to be in Charge of the Field Trip Safety Plan
The field trip safety plan should be designed and created by someone who is in charge of safety for the trip. This person should be familiar with the area where the trip will take place and the activities that will be undertaken.
They should also have a good understanding of emergency procedures and first aid. The safety plan should be reviewed and approved by the school administration before the trip takes place.
In case of a medical emergency having a safety plan can help reduce stress as a plan is already established.
Coordinate Meals and Snacks ahead of time while on the Field Trip
One way to make sure that everyone on the field trip is well-fed is to coordinate meals and snacks ahead of time. This can be done by assigning someone to be in charge of food, or by simply asking everyone to bring their own packed lunch.
If you are providing the food, make sure to take into account any allergies or dietary restrictions. It’s also a good idea to have some snacks on hand in case anyone gets hungry between meals.
Field Trip Planning Needs Open Communication with School Staff
Field trip planning needs open communication with school staff in order to be successful. This means that staff members need to be aware of the trip, its purpose, and any potential risks involved.
It is also important to have a clear plan for how the trip will be conducted and what specific roles each staff member will play. By communicating openly and effectively, field trips can be a fun and educational experience for everyone involved.
Added Protections are needed for Preschool Field Trip Safety
With more and more preschools taking their students on field trips, it is important that additional protections are put in place to ensure their safety.
This could include having all adults present to undergo a background check, ensuring that there is adequate adult supervision at all times, and having a first aid kit on hand in case of any accidents.
Preschoolers may need to bring their child safety restraints to comply with state laws or regulations.
The ratio of adults to preschoolers should be increased as an added precaution. We recommend a high level of parent involvement when possible for these types of field trips.
Including additional adults not only helps the preschool staff but also reduces the stress and anxiety of the parents.
Ensure your preschools are with an adult at all times and that each adult has a list of students they are responsible for.
By taking these precautions, we can help make sure that all preschoolers have a safe and enjoyable time on their field trips.
Contact Your Private School Insurance Agent
As church property insurance agents, we are typically the last person a school thinks of. As your insurance agent, we can be an additional resource in helping identify areas to reduce risk and keep your kids safe.
We can also verify if you have the needed permission slips, auto insurance, and liability coverage in place.
Notify your Insurance Agent of the Event 90 days prior
Before the school field trip, it is important to notify your insurance agent as soon as possible. This will ensure that any potential claims are covered for the field trip. Depending on the type of event and the needed insurance protection, there may be an additional charge to cover the field trip.
Your insurance agent will need to know the details of the field trip, including the date, time, number of attendees, and location.
Do you need to Add an Organization as an Additional Insured?
An additional insured is an entity that is protected under your insurance policy. This could be another organization or individual that is not the primary insured.
In most cases, you will need to add an additional insured if there is a contract or agreement in place that requires it. For example, if you are renting space from a church, the church may require you to add them as additionally insured on your policy.
Does the Venue Require Higher Insurance Limits?
If the venue you are using for your private school event requires higher insurance limits, you should contact your private school insurance agent. Your agent will be able to provide you with an estimated cost for the increased coverage.
The insurance company may or may not be able to provide an instant quote so plan ahead to give the company enough time.
Maintain Basic Hygiene on your School Field Trip
When you are on a school field trip, it is important to maintain basic hygiene. This means that you should wash your hands often, especially before eating.
You should also avoid touching your face, and if you do, make sure to wash your hands afterward. If possible, use hand sanitizer or wipes to clean surfaces that you may have come into contact with.
Assign Students to Specific Drivers and Vehicles for the Duration of the Field Trip
Before you exit your school and head out on your field trip, assigning students to specific drivers and vehicles for the duration of a field trip can help ensure that everyone arrives at the destination safely and on time.
This can be especially helpful if the field trip is to a location that is unfamiliar to the students or if there is limited parking available. By having a designated driver for each vehicle, students can relax and enjoy the ride without having to worry about getting lost or being late.
It also provides additional eyes letting the driver know if a student is missing.
Obtain Parent Volunteers to Chaperone
I always say the best trip is the one where I had the most help. For the trip, you are planning to seek help from parent volunteers.
Here are a few suggestions.
- Talk to parents early and let them know what you expect from chaperones.
- Choose chaperones that fit well with your expectations and abilities.
- Communicate with chaperones regularly.
- Be clear about the purpose of the trip, what will happen, and when you should arrive.
- Consider covering fuel costs and parking for your chaperones if finances allow.
- Ensure all chaperones stay in compliance with any laws.
- If a chaperone gets into a crash provide them with details on how to be prepared for emergencies such as an auto accident beforehand.
- Thank your chaperones for their help!
Verify Auto Insurance Coverage from chaperones who are helping with the Transportation of Students and Teachers.
As a parent, you may be asked to chaperone a school field trip. If you will be driving other students and teachers, it is important to verify that the vehicle you will be using is properly insured.
The first step is to check with your own auto insurance carrier. They can confirm your current insurance coverage and your applicable deductibles.
Many private schools require their adult chaperones to carry no less than $100,000 / $300,000 in auto liability protection. This helps protect the kids in the event of an accident. It also provides an additional layer of protection for the school.
Also, verify the motor vehicle registration is current for the van or private passenger vehicle the school will be using.
Does the School have Non-Owned Hired Auto Insurance Coverage?
When a private school uses chaperones to transport children and staff, they need to have coverage called non-owned hired auto insurance. This auto insurance policy may be included in your commercial liability insurance policy or your auto insurance policy.
Never assume either of these insurance policies includes this coverage. Always ask your insurance agent if it was purchased by the school. We recommend including physical damage coverage as well for this insurance policy.
Need help with your next Field Trip?
We have helped countless schools and churches obtain the needed liability insurance coverage, workers’ compensation insurance, abuse, and molestation insurance, directors and officers insurance, group health insurance, and business auto insurance for their private schools throughout California, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Texas, and Ohio.
We understand field trips can be complicated and we are here to help take care of your insurance concerns.
Reach out to one of our licensed church insurance agents and we will take the time to get to know you and your organization.